Join the leaders in AI and data at Transform 2021 on July 12 for the AI / ML Automation Technology Summit. Register today.
Master data management (MDM) has always been an obscure area that many organizations have simply ignored. In fact, no one yet knows exactly who is responsible for data quality in many organizations.
MDM at Informatic
But data quality has become an increasingly critical issue as organizations seek to improve the customer experience and lay the groundwork for investments in AI.
VentureBeat sat down with Manouj Tahiliani, Managing Director of MDM at Informatica, to better understand how MDM is rapidly evolving into a self-sustaining process that needs to be integrated into a larger data management strategy.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
VentureBeat: Why is there so much emphasis on MDM now? To some extent, this has always been a challenge.
Manouj Tahiliani: The pandemic was that… event where companies were forced to go digital. This is happening in all areas. The natural instinct for companies is to deploy ad hoc solutions. It’s a bit of the easy way out. All of this leads to a spread of applications and technology. We’ve always had a problem with fragmentation – now the problem is further compounded, so I think there is awareness. This is a trend we are seeing right now. It is very evident that MDM is the foundation of any kind of digital transformation.
VentureBeat: Who is responsible for data quality these days?
Tahiliani: There is a classic problem in data management in terms of governance. You need to define a data strategy that aligns with your board’s strategy or other business results that an organization wants to achieve. But then you go to the next level of detail. How to implement the data strategy? One of the cornerstones of any successful data management journey is having a good governance framework in place, because governance is what brings processes and technology together from people and puts in place the necessary safeguards. Businesses own the data. IT teams can’t tell whether two customers are the same or not, but IT needs to define the processes to equip the business with management capabilities. It is a collaboration between business and IT to be successful. It is not a unique thing.
VentureBeat: Does Every Organization Need a Data Manager?
Tahiliani: We saw the data manager. Sometimes they are also responsible for digital. It is still an evolving space. I see that in the longer term, the data manager will be a person responsible for the data. It may be a title with a role, but it is definitely a role with certain responsibilities. When their role isn’t defined, it’s usually someone in the company who kind of takes responsibility and acts as an untitled data manager in a way.
VentureBeat: It looks like data management is ripe for automation. What progress has been made on this front?
Tahiliani: MDM is evolving very quickly. We are already using AI to improve ourselves. There is definitely a line of sight towards autonomous MDM. A central process of MDM Informatica getting a single view of the customer. Then you have more complex business processes, or what we call MDM applications. The MDM secret sauce is getting a single view of a customer that can be shared using a stand-alone process. We are able to discover metadata. We have the ability to automate the pipelines from a connectivity point of view and then get the data flowing. We have a capability from a machine learning-based correspondence perspective, and then we can share data in a process after you set those governance policies. We are not there yet. What we’re doing right now is applying machine learning in different aspects of this MDM process. Pairing is important. Being able to give recommendations on what the metadata-based business model should be like is another. It is automated. It will transition from a supervised semi-automated process to a stand-alone MDM process at some point.
VentureBeat: How will we know we can trust this standalone outcome?
Tahiliani: Governance will become an important aspect if you automate everything. How can people believe that this data is really good enough just because the machine told me? You have to provide some explanation there. We need to make sure that the governance process around the front-end in terms of deploying machine learning algorithms is much more robust. It is an exciting time as the basic MDM Informatica process can certainly be completely self-sufficient. We see this happening soon.
VentureBeat: Business users don’t always trust data. Will it improve as a result?
Tahiliani: As long as you can visualize how things were done, it is not a black box process. There is a way to introspect and understand how the machine learning algorithm came to a conclusion. It would build confidence. I think we just need to make sure we take everyone on this trip with us.
VentureBeat: Is there just too much data to process?
Tahiliani: This is an aspect as the volumes increase. It’s just not humanly possible to have that stewardship ladder. Much more data will transit autonomously.
VentureBeat: Is more of the data now also being processed in real time?
Tahiliani: Realtime and streaming are in the future, mainly because data gets stale quite quickly. If you look at it from a customer engagement perspective, these types of interactions have a lifespan. You need to provide a recommendation to a customer in near real time to deliver a relevant experience. It is important that any data management technology can support the streaming capability and provide real-time recommendations. We use a lot of exhaust data to derive information from it. But this exhaust data also becomes obsolete very quickly and loses its relevance.
VentureBeat: What impact has the cloud had on MDM?
Tahiliani: It is an exciting time right now to be in MDM. We launched the intelligent data management cloud. MDM is a key service within the Informatica intelligent data management cloud. MDM Informatica cannot be deployed much faster. You no longer have two months of deployment. We have come a long way. Previously Informatica MDM projects lasted six to nine months, now you have clients who get value in three to six months. There is a short-term opportunity for us to start tapping into this kind of community knowledge. Cloud certainly makes that easier.
VentureBeat: What’s your best MDM tip then?
Tahiliani: I always tell clients it starts with data strategy. Establish a data strategy aligned with your business strategy, then really follow the course. It’s not about boiling the ocean. You can start small. It’s also important to consider the long term aspects of your trip and not focus on the short term. It should support your data needs, not just for today, but for the future as well. It’s important that you look at your data strategy from a data platform’s perspective. It is important to have a data platform as a foundation that supports the needs of multiple domains.
VentureBeat’s mission is to be a digital public place for technical decision-makers to learn about transformative technology and conduct transactions. Our site provides essential information on data technologies and strategies to guide you in managing your organizations. We invite you to become a member of our community, to access:
- up-to-date information on the topics that interest you
- our newsletters
- Closed thought leader content and discounted access to our popular events, such as Transform 2021: Learn more
- networking features, and more
Become a member